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    Sewer Smell in Laundry Room

    Asked Dec 3, 2006, 07:19 PM 13 Answers
    We are getting a sewer gas smell when we do laundry! This started as just the odd time and then became almost every time we did laundry. We have a brand New Kenmore front load washer and front load dryer(both electric as we have no natural gas in our house) - but the smell had happened before these new appliances but only once or twice a year. It seems that after the second wash load the smell starts. It is terrible! We checked all drains and all have the P-trap. We tried pouring every type of "drain" chemical there is down every drain and nothing helped. The smell would start in the laundry room and make its way up to our bedroom bathroom! The odd time our main bathroom (upstairs as well) would have a mild sewer smell coming from the drain as well. So we called in a plumber about 2 months ago. He checked all drains and they were fine. He put a snake down the sewer vent on the roof and said he really couldn't find any problems. The smell was gone! We were so happy. Well today the smell is back! I did one load of laundry in the wash and it was fine. BUT... as soon as I put the load in the dryer the smell came! (no 2nd load of laundry washed either) Could it be from something else other than the plumbing? Our dryer exaust vent goes from the back of our dryer straight outside (only 18inches). No idea why the smell is back or what caused it. However... I did notice a very slight sewer smell in the main bathroom sink drain again the past couple days but poured "drano" down it and it went away. The smell seems to be coming from in the ceiling! We had plumbing work done in our master bathroom above it in the spring. We put in a new tub and found out the old one had leaked. The drywall had black mold on it and was shot so it was all cut out there... so we can really smell it as the ceiling is wide open. Could there still be mold in the ceiling causing this smell and how would this be related to running our washer or dryer? AAHHH... what could be causing this.. I don't even know what professional to call for help!

    Last edited by sheribo; Dec 3, 2006 at 07:53 PM.
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    speedball1's Avatar
    speedball1 Posts: 28,613, Reputation: 1911
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    #2

    Dec 4, 2006, 07:11 AM


    Smells and noises are the most difficult to track down if you're not there.
    While we can't pinpoint the source we can point you to the most likely offenders.
    This is only a guess but We've had so many complaints like yours I just have to voice it. It would seem that the washer manufactures,( especially Maytag, check to see if that's who made your Kenmore) make their pumps stronger. If you have a 1 1/2" trap and drain it might not be large enough to handle the volume the pump puts out. If that's so the discharge will build up and produce backflow. Backflow will produce a "bubble" of sewer gas that it pushes back up the drain line coming out the washer stand pipe. That's where you get your smell. All indications point to this as the cause. The only remedy that I know of, outside of increasing the drain size, would be to install a compression fitting on the standpipe and a check valve next to the hose outlet on the washer. This would make it a closed system that no gas could escape from. Regards, tom
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    sheribo's Avatar
    sheribo Posts: 53, Reputation: 2
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    #3

    Dec 4, 2006, 12:07 PM
    The smell is not coming from the standpipe. It is coming from the open ceiling above the appliances. Do you think adding this device will stop the smell even though it is coming from a different area? Could our sewer vent on the roof be plugged - even though it was just snaked 2 months ago. I live in Canada and we have had very large amounts of snow in the past month!
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    speedball1's Avatar
    speedball1 Posts: 28,613, Reputation: 1911
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    #4

    Dec 4, 2006, 03:33 PM


    The vent could be iced up. There's a lot of moisture in a vent pipe. Regards, Tom
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    sheribo's Avatar
    sheribo Posts: 53, Reputation: 2
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    #5

    Dec 6, 2006, 08:53 AM
    Well my husband climbed on the roof and poured water down the pipe. We did 2 loads of laundry the following day and NO SMELL! So it must be that pipe that keeps getting plugged up! Thanks for your help
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    speedball1's Avatar
    speedball1 Posts: 28,613, Reputation: 1911
    Senior Plumbing Expert
     
    #6

    Dec 6, 2006, 10:01 AM


    If frozen vents are a problem then you may be interested in checking out Arctic Vents at: http://www.heatline.com/arcticprod.htm
    Cheers, Tom
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    mmay's Avatar
    mmay Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member
     
    #7

    Dec 24, 2006, 03:29 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by speedball1
    Smells and noises are the most difficult to track down if you're not there.
    While we can't pinpoint the source we can point you to the most likely offenders.
    This is only a guess but We've had so many complaints like yours I just have to voice it. it would seem that the washer manufactures,( especially Maytag, check to see if that's who made your Kenmore) make their pumps stronger. If you have a 1 1/2" trap and drain it might not be large enough to handle the volume the pump puts out. If that's so the discharge will build up and produce backflow. Backflow will produce a "bubble" of sewer gas that it pushes back up the drain line coming out the washer stand pipe. That's where you get your smell. All indications point to this as the cause. The only remedy that I know of, outside of increasing the drain size, would be to install a compression fitting on the standpipe and a check valve next to the hose outlet on the washer. This would make it a closed system that no gas could escape from. Regards, tom
    Tom,
    This sounds like my problem exactly. In a previous answer you indicated you can "snake from the washer vent". What does this mean?
    Also I wouldn't know how to install a compression fitting on the standpipe, nor a check valve next the washer's hose outlet.
    What would you suggest?
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    speedball1's Avatar
    speedball1 Posts: 28,613, Reputation: 1911
    Senior Plumbing Expert
     
    #8

    Dec 25, 2006, 06:20 AM
    Tom,
    "This sounds like my problem exactly. In a previous answer you indicated you can "snake from the washer vent". What does this mean?
    Also I wouldn't know how to install a compression fitting on the standpipe, nor a check valve next the the washer's hose outlet."


    Every fixture that has a trap has a pipe running up to the roof in the form of a vent. If the kitchen and the washer uses the same drain line you may snake from the kitchen sink vent. The compression fitting,(see image ) fits over the standpipe and makes the connection between hose and standpipe airtight and the hose check valve ,(see image) stops the sewer gas from entering the washer tub making the washer drain a closed system.
    Good luck, Tom
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    sheribo's Avatar
    sheribo Posts: 53, Reputation: 2
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    #9

    Dec 28, 2006, 08:15 AM
    I came across the sewer smell in my laundry room AGAIN last night. But this time I never used the washing machine! We had some wet clothes I threw into the dryer... and the sewer smell started! The washing machine hasn't been used for days now. Why would I get a sewer smell from the electric dryer? It cant be from the outside pipe being plugged if the water was never used? Any ideas? We have NO natural gas in our house either.
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    Irix's Avatar
    Irix Posts: 1, Reputation: 2
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    #10

    Mar 31, 2009, 11:17 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by sheribo View Post
    I came across the sewer smell in my laundry room AGAIN last night. But this time I never used the washing machine! We had some wet clothes I threw into the dryer...and the sewer smell started!! The washing machine hasnt been used for days now. Why would I get a sewer smell from the electric dryer? It cant be from the outside pipe being plugged if the water was never used? Any ideas? We have NO natural gas in our house either.

    Is your laundry room sealed up nearly air tight? (i.e. HVAC vents closed and doors closed in the room while the dryer is running)

    If so what can happen is as the dryer is pumping out hot exhaust air outside of the house the room (and house) needs to replenish the air that has been lost. If the room is sealed tightly it'll create a vacuum in the room causing air to get pulled in from wherever it can (under door, HVAC vents and such). If there isn't enough places for the air to come in as fast as it's being pumped out it could get pulled through the sewage pipes; with enough vacuum (negative pressure) in the room the "p trap" can be overcome.

    If this seems like something that may be happening at your home try leaving the door open while running the dryer. If that ends up being the culprit consider shaving 1/2 to 3/4" off the bottom of your door to your utilities room.

    Other things could be part of the problem too, if your HVAC system is not properly balanced (return air leaks) it could be causing negative pressure in parts of your house (usually the basement; easily tested by turning your HVAC fan on and slowly closing your basement door. If it gets sucked shut you have a problem). With the house already out of balance the extra negative pressure from the dryer could be the final straw to cause sewage gas to infiltrate.

    Good luck!
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